During the 28th session of the International Seabed Authority (ISA), held in Kingston, Jamaica, from July 10 to 28, 2023, the representative of the Principality of Monaco reaffirmed the country's opposition to deep-sea mining.
The ISA, one of three bodies established by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, manages the resources of the deep sea. The 28th session mainly focused on discussions about the draft regulations concerning the exploitation of deep-sea mineral resources.
Despite the eagerness of some countries to expedite the process, numerous delegations expressed concerns about approving a work plan for exploiting these resources without a solid regulatory framework accompanied by the necessary environmental safeguards.
Monaco clarified that no work plan could be approved unless it included a clear regulatory framework that considered reliable scientific data. Monaco also stated that this position was not influenced by any specific terminology or expressions that could prove ambiguous.
The ISA is set to continue its work on this sensitive issue in its future meetings. All parties to the 1982 Convention, including Monaco, are automatically members of the Authority, totaling to the current 169 members (168 countries plus the European Union).
Monaco was among the first to join the "Call for the Deep" coalition of countries – which includes Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Micronesia, Finland, France, Germany, Panama, Portugal, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Vanuatu – advocating for the protection of deep-sea environments. The coalition asserts that the precautionary principle should guide the decision-making process concerning deep-sea mining.